Life Imitates Art!!

Press Release – Alder Productions

In the mid 80’, while Shirley Valentine was running off to Greece to escape the drudgery of suburban English life, Nancy Schroder was running off to New Zealand.  

Media Release

Shirley Valentine

June 17th 2010 – The Opera House, Wellington


Dear Alastair


Life Imitates Art!!


In the mid 80’, while Shirley Valentine was running off to Greece to escape the drudgery of suburban English life, Nancy Schroder was running off to New Zealand.

In 1983, at 19yrs of age, Nancy was experiencing her independence as a dancer on a cruise ship in the Caribbean; that is, before the ship was commandeered by Margaret Thatcher to serve in the Falklands war. Out went the hospitality facilities, and in with troop supplies!

By then however, Nancy had fallen love with the ship’s doctor who was planning to emigrate to NZ so together they set out from the high life of London to downtown Ashburton.
Nancy says of the experience,  “well it was a bit of a culture shock, I wasn’t even allowed to buy a drink. I think the then legal age in NZ was 21”.

Since arriving in NZ Nancy has performed on most stages throughout the country, from Kerikeri to Invercargill – but never in Wellington! Among her many stage appearance she has been a lead actress at Court Theatre in Christchurch (Daughters of Heaven – the Parker/ Hulme Murder (Juliet Hulme)), Mercury Theatre Company (The Crucible (Abigail Williams) & Auckland Theatre Company (Travesties (Nadya Krupskya).  

Nancy is also well known for her roles in Shortland Street & Hercules.

Born in Tiverton, Devon, UK, Nancy relocated to London on attaining scholarships at the age of 13yrs – to Nesta Brooking School of Ballet, and later at 16 yrs old to The Arts Educational Stage School (studying alongside the likes of Martin Clunes (Men Behaving Badly, Doc Martin).

Nancy comes from a strong line of thespians; her mother Irene attended Italia Conti with Julie Andrews.  Later Irene became a member of the famous “Tiller Girls” at London’s Palladium Theatre, working with the likes of Bob Hope, Arthur Askey and Judy Garland.  She went on to establish The Willow Tree School of Performing Arts in the 1960s – now celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary. Irene, at 80yrs old, still runs the school and continues to teach.  

Finally Nancy is coming to perform in Wellington, at The Opera House, for one night only, reprising her role as “Shirley Valentine” a one-woman play that Nancy has performed to full houses, standing ovations and great reviews throughout 2009.
Nancy says of the 36 page script she has to recall on stage “originally when I was asked if I was interested in playing the lead role in “Shirley Valentine” I naively accepted immediately….not realising at the time it was a one-hander” she laughs.  “So when I got hold of the script and began to read it, I realised I had to play all the characters and I almost fell out of the chair.”

However, Nancy says of the role “Shirley is such a wonderful character, full of wit and insight, and very quirky. She really is a joy to play. Shirley is so non-judgemental, opening her life to the audience as if they are her best friend. The play is a bit naughty; adult if you like and both men and women seem to enjoy the humour equally”.

The set & lighting design, has been created by the acclaimed Michael Knapp (Opera Australia) who will once again weave his magic on tour in June for “Shirley”.


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